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Germans begin probe into BenQ Mobile collapse

'Whole staff been lied to'

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German public prosecutors are looking into the bankruptcy of German mobile phone manufacturer BenQ Mobile.

Chief senior public prosecutor Christian Schmidt-Sommerfeld told the southern German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung that it has started an investigation into the bankruptcy of BenQ Mobile, but declined to discuss details.

Insiders say BenQ Mobile's management was fully aware of the company's cashflow problems as early as August, but didn't communicate them to its employees and deliberately delayed filing for bankruptcy. According to some reports, the company also made false statements about the number of BenQ handsets sold in Q2. Instead of the reported 10.7 million, it only sold 7.4 million handsets.

The whole staff has been lied to, the head of the central works council at BenQ Josef Michael Leuker told German news agency DPA earlier this week. The company's bankruptcy trustee and BenQ Mobile have both refused to comment.

When the former Siemens unit collapsed in September, over 2,000 workers lost their jobs. Siemens decided to set up a €30m hardship fund for workers affected by the closure. The group was savaged by leading politicians for selling its loss-making handset business to Taiwan's BenQ last year.®

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